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Horse Racing

Coral Welsh Grand National – Chepstow – Monday 27th December

Monday 27th December 14:50

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides his preview of the Coral Welsh Grand National, and offers up 11/1 and 50/1 selections.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Hold That Taught 11/111/1 Ante Post
each-way (4 places)
Welsh Grand National - Chepstow - Mon 27th Dec
Place BetPlace Bet
Fortescue 50/150/1 Ante Post
each-way (4 places)
Welsh Grand National - Chepstow - Mon 27th Dec
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 19/12/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (15:48 19/12/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Forget dreaming about a white Christmas, (which we may get in some places, according to forecasts,) plenty of connections of horses entered in the Coral Welsh Grand National will be dreaming of any precipitation this Christmas!

As, unusually, the ground isn’t as soft as can sometimes be the case for the post-Christmas mud-bath at Chepstow. But long-range suggestions feel we’ll get a dousing on Christmas Day itself, and will surely produce testing enough ground for many horses to take their chance in the 3m6f test.

Prospects for one of the longstanding ante-post favourites Ask Me Early unfortunately don’t look too good, after he suffered what was a very serious schooling accident with Sean Bowen in the week.

Fingers crossed for the recovery of both horse and jockey of course, and it is the profile of Ask Me Early that gives us a clue to the ante-post bet at this stage.

On last season’s re-arranged Welsh National card, the novices’ handicap chase saw Ask Me Early hold off the challenge of Hold That Taught in game fashion, as Venetia Williams’ strapping young chaser wasn’t giving in. In behind the pair Highland Hunter fell at the last, when he was booked for a well-held third, yet he is now a shorter price than Hold That Taught on account of winning the London National recently. I’d be fairly sure that Hold That Taught will confirm the form again however.

Year in, year out, this novices’ handicap chase is one to note, and can throw up horses who emerge into the Welsh Grand National picture in future seasons, and I feel it can produce the winner this season.

Hold That Taught was a shell of a horse last season, and on the evidence of his seasonal debut win at Carlisle two months ago, he has really strengthened and filled his frame for his summer break.

So, with that Chepstow runner-up effort a year ago fresh in the memory, and the prospect that Hold That Taught has significantly improved since, he rates as a lovely 11/1 each-way bet with Bet365 at this stage.

You’ll only secure 4 places for each-way bets, and will probably obtain 5, 6 or even 7 on the day. But what I don’t think you’ll be able to nab on the day is that 11/1, and double figures could be a distant memory when you consider the form of the Venetia Williams’ stable.

With the doubts about the participation and/or preparation of Ask Me Early and last year’s winner Secret Reprieve, Hold That Taught could easily shorten, and correctly so in my eyes.

There’s an interesting time comparison with the Ask Me Early/Hold That Taught/Highland Hunter race and last season’s Welsh Grand National, and I won’t bore you with the full details, but save to say that it paints Hold That Taught in a particularly favourable light – and that’s not factoring in the improvement he will have undergone since.

All in all, I see Hold That Taught as the likely favourite for the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow at 2.50 on Monday 27th December. So, taking the 11/1 each-way with Bet365 looks a very wise move. If, as is likely, the top weights Native River and Royale Pagaille don’t run, then Hold That Taught will have a lovely racing weight of 10st 5lbs, which also means stable jockey Charlie Deutsch can have an extra roast potato on Christmas Day, to give him the strength needed for the Welsh marathon!

Looking at some of the bigger prices in the current list, there is also one big’un that takes the eye somewhat. I have no idea if this is the plan, but when Richard Johnson won on Henry Daly’s Fortescue at Sandown Park back in March, he mentioned this race as a potential option.

At 50/1 each-way with Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook, Fortescue is definitely worth a speculative investment now. He has had entries in the last week that he didn’t take up, and it may be that he is begin aimed at the Welsh Grand National.

For the last few days, I have been adamant it is worth taking on horses who ran in the Ladbrokes Trophy, and the likes of Remastered, Cloth Cap and Enrilo have all run below par, and in some cases finished very tired, since.

So, given Fortescue has only had an extra week or so to have freshened up, is maybe cutting it fine on my previous assertion.

But what sets Fortescue apart, is that he was one of the only horses in the Ladbrokes Trophy to hit the line with anything left to give, and with a 50/1 price tag, my forgiving nature can be entertained just that little bit more!

 

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